M.I.A. and the Macbook

I kind of love the way the new stuff from M.I.A. looks -- sorta like mid-90s websites, word salad spam, Pac-Man, and Nigerian gangsta rap all rolled up and smoked as one. Her recently redone website induces excellent epilepsy.

In the photo above, she's chilling between takes at a video shoot for the new single, "Boyz," with a bestickered MacBook Pro. Snip from Obtusity blog:

Though it's hard to believe, M.I.A. has taken the visual themes of 2005's Arular (seen everywhere from the cover art to the video for "Galang") and created something even more gloriously epilepsy-inducing for sophomore LP Kala. The vibrant collage of neon colors and cheap special effects found in the promo for new single "Boyz" (as well as her fantastic website) is a homage to everything from 80's video games to the advertising and film culture of Nigeria, Southeast Asia and Jamaica. But it's also a completely singular vision, and one that is impossible to pin to any particular movement or region of the world.
Link to post which points to her new "Boyz" video, more behind-the-scenes stills here. Who shot the stills, I wonder? No credit on the website. (thanks, Susannah Breslin)

Reader comment: Chris Hutsul in Toronto says,

I too like MIA's new webiste. But I like art collective Paper Rodeo's better: Link.

As you can see, her's is a blatant copy.

Ben says,
Your commenter meant (hopefully) to say "Paper Rad," not "Paper Rodeo" in the MIA story. Link, and they're eminently YouTubeable.

To be fair, MIA's designer could be getting the Paper Rad influence secondhand; a quick look around MySpace reveals an embarrassment of pages with a similar GIF-Bomb'd Nu-Rave Retarditaire aesthetic...

Brett Burton says,
I'm pretty sure that Ben from Paper Rad actually did that site, so it's not a rip-off of their style.

Paper Rad has been doing this stuff very well for a long time now.

Cayden says,
Chris is onto something, but I wouldn't say MIA's site is a "blatant copy" of Paper Rad's. It's called psychedelia. Check this website of local Detroit art/music collective, Scrummage University: Link.
Glitch says,
I believe, M.I.A.'s website was actually designed by the awesome zephyrerising.com but a lot of the inspiration comes from Cartoon coutour fashion designer cassetteplaya.com who actually helped with the original designs for her 1st album. Rad stuff, that I hope will become uniforms in private schools all across the world.
skim says,
I'm not sure who started the epileptic websites, but sadly a portland band, menomena has recently changed their fun, wackyness website to a more formal readable site. however, you can still access their radness page - it's truly the radness. check it out!
Chris Hutsul says,
Thanks to Ben for correcting me. Indeed, the collective is called Paper Rad. They put out a newsprint comic titled Paper Rodeo, hence the error. As to who came out with this look first, hard to tell. But I recall seeing the Paper Rad site in this current state at least three years ago. Talk about being ahead of your time. Thanks for posting my comment.
Andy Fischer says,
I noticed the recent flurry of epileptic website love surrounding M.I.A. and others. I just wanted to throw in my two cents with the website of underground music reviewer umeancompetitor. When I say music reviewer I mean that in a purely nominal sense of that if you stare hard at the words and don't go insane from the images you will get some idea of whats good in the hip-hop world. I would also warn that following inline links in his writing is both a good and a bad idea. Good because its insane, bad because its really really insane.
Larry Carlson says,
Many people think Paper Rad got their style from the amazing Virgina Beach art collective Dearraindrop. They are all part of an art scene centered around New York city and Providence, RI. Here's a you tube video of their trippy work: Video link.